Rain forecast to bring relief to dry Northern California this week | TheUnion.com

Rain forecast to bring relief to dry Northern California this week

Photo submitted by the Department of Water Resources

Northern California, which is parched after a dry beginning to 2013, is expected to receive about three-quarters of an inch of precipitation over the coming week, weather officials said Monday.

Periods of light rain showers are possible throughout the week beginning Monday night and persisting through Thursday, said Stefanie Henry, National Weather Service meteorologist. Another storm system is expected to arrive Saturday night, carrying the bulk of the week’s precipitation.

The high-pressure ridge, which typically sits over Northern California, will be slightly broken down in coming days, accounting for the increase in cloud cover over the region, Henry said.

While forecasters are still running models, the variability of the spring conditions allow the possibility that the system scheduled to arrive over the weekend could venture south, avoiding the Sierra foothills altogether, Henry said.

Residents should expect typical early spring temperatures with daytime highs hovering around 60, Henry said. A mild cooling trend will occur throughout the week before the mercury rises slightly Friday.

The 8-Station Index — maintained by the California Department of Water Resources, which measures rainfall accumulation at eight locations throughout the mountainous region of the Northern California, ranging from Mount Shasta City down to the American River Basin — shows an average of 38.5 inches has fallen since the water year began Oct. 1.

The average for an entire year is 50 inches.

While precipitation is 96 percent of average to date, according the DWR, the water content in the snowpack was only 57 percent of the average April 1 reading, when the last survey was taken earlier this month.

The snowpack — often called California’s “frozen reservoir” — normally provides about a third of the water for California’s farms and communities.

On March 22, the DWR decreased the year’s water delivery estimate from 40 to 35 percent of requested State Water Project water, according to a news release.

The reduced allocation is due primarily to a record dry January and February in Northern California, where key reservoirs capture water to supply millions of Californians, the release states. Weather in March has also been relatively dry.

California normally receives more than 90 percent of its rain and snow from December through April.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email mrenda@theunion.com or 530-477-4239.

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